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May 18, 2013


Sam Houston Race Park's American Quarter Horse meet concluded today with an excellent card featuring two Bank of America Challenge stakes races.  Fastest qualifiers dominated in both the $75,690 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge and the $59,950 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge.

The Kat in the Hat Sizzles in the $75,690 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge
In Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book, The Cat in the Hat, a big cat wearing a candy-striped hat, stirs up total chaos. This afternoon at Sam Houston Race Park, The Kat in the Hat was calm, cool and collected as he captured the $75,690 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge (G3).

The trials on May 2 took place on one of the coldest nights in the meet, with temperatures dipping into the high 40's and winds clocked at 25 mph. The finalists were rewarded today with sunny skies and a fast track. 

Owner and trainer Jose R. Espinosa of Mission, Texas was delighted with the performance of The Kat in the Hat who did not disappoint as the fastest qualifier in today’s final.

Espinosa purchased the son of Red Oak Special at the TQHA Yearling Sale for $4,000. He has now won two of his three starts and earned $34,818 for John Deere Juvenile Challenge victory.

“We had a brother to him and saw him in the sale book and knew we had to have him,” said Espinosa. “The horse came out of his trial perfectly. He did everything we asked, and we could not have asked for him to run a better race in the final.”

The Kat in the Hat was bred by Sherrie Morace and was ridden to victory in the 350-yard final by Cipriano Vidana, closing gamely in a time of :17.989.

“His dam is just awesome, and Red Oak is the most calm, wonderful stud,” said Morace.  “It’s so exciting.”

Sent off as the second betting choice, The Kat in the Hat paid $7.60 for the win. Ninth-fastest qualifier, Isit Red ran second under Jose Sandoval and Cristata who recorded the second-fastest qualifying time, was third.  Jodys Pop A Top completed the superfecta.

Espinosa, who resides in Mission Texas, reported that The Kat in the Hat will run in the TQHA Sale Futurity at Retama Park and the Gillespie County Futurity before representing Texas in the $150,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) at Los Alamitos Race Course on November 9.

Tejas Energy B Remains Undefeated This Meet With a Victory in the $59,850 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge
Tejas Energy B is making the most of his 3-year-old campaign. He made his 2013 debut at Sam Houston Race Park on April 4 by setting a new track record (:15.006) in a 300-yard maiden. One month later, he returned to action, and was the fastest qualifier in four trials contested for the $59,850 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge.

The 3-year-old Tres Seis colt, owned by Antonio Delgado, Jr., kept his winning streak intact this afternoon, breaking cleanly and winning the 400-yard final easily in :20.145 seconds.

Sam Houston Race Park leading rider, Luis Vivanco guided the sorrel colt for trainer Manuel Vega, Jr.  Bred in Texas by Bielau Oaks, Tejas Energy B earned $27,531 for the victory.

"This has been a dream come true," said Vega.  "We had a little scare as he stood in the gates, but once he got out, he did his job. He’s been an excellent horse to train.”

Vega gelded Tejas Energy B and notes that he has been a much more focused 3-year-old. His nickname in the barn is “the rock". 

Vega's grandfather was a trainer and abided by the theory that "you make the horse from the inside out".  His grandson is now devoting himself to training Quarter Horses after a 38-year career as a college administrator. 

Sent off as the heavy favorite, Tejas Energy B returned $3.20 for the win. Dash Master Jess won his trial in :19.992 to record the second-fastest qualifying time, and finished second today under Manuel Gutierrez.  First Royal Classic rallied for third and Ivory Owl ran fourth.

Tejas Energy B earned a berth into the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos Race Course on November 9.

Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 minutes from downtown Houston, and offers a variety of attractions including 16 recently renovated luxury suites overlooking the race track, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and the Champion Energy Services Jockey Club. For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit

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